Kelly Clarkson doesn’t get nervous performing — but she had one major gig that made her a bit anxious.
The singer surprised Garth Brooks with a beautiful rendition of his song “The Dance” at the 43rd annual Kennedy Center Honors in Washington, D.C. Clarkson said she chose the song after she found a deeper meaning in the lyrics after her split from ex, Brandon Blackstock. She also revealed that performing her made her nervous.
“I was texting Trisha Yearwood before the show and then I go on stage and I saw them and like all of a sudden I am the sweatiest human on planet earth,” Clarkson said in the clip above, ahead of the event airing June 6. “And I got a little nervous, and I don’t get nervous singing. Yep, I didn’t enjoy that!”
During The Kelly Clarkson Show, the singer told Brooks about how she connected to the track.
“I couldn’t quite nail down the feeling. I was, like, well, you don’t want to crap on it. Like, you don’t want to say that didn’t count or matter, but you don’t know what to put in it because it didn’t work out how you wanted,” she said. “And so, anyway, I kid you not, I was listening to my playlist and ‘The Dance’ came on and I was like, ‘No, that’s the thing. That’s it.’”
Brooks was one of many stars, including Debbie Allen, Joan Baez, Dick Van Dyke and Midori, being honored by the Kennedy Center. The event took place last month, but will air Sunday at 8 p.m. on CBS.
“I’m already wishing I had a mask on so I could do this,” Brooks expressed in the preview as he held his hand up to his face to cover himself getting emotional. “And then the whole band kicks in. It’s just so pretty. That woman is a true friend to a song. She’s amazing.”
Derek Hough, Vanessa Hudgens, Pentatonix, Gladys Knight, Emmylou Harris, Jimmie Allen and Yo-Yo Ma also took the stage to pay tribute to the honorees.
“I’m going to be straight up with you guys. I haven’t worn this suit in over two years. Very tight,” joked Hough ahead of his tribute to Van Dyke. “This gonna pop. This suit. If I even go like that, I just heard a stitch go pop.”
Luckily there were no wardrobe malfunctions and Van Dyke got the perfect tribute. “I keep waiting for someone to call and say we made a mistake,” the acting legend said with a laugh. “I don’t know what you do after this. This is American knighthood. I never dreamed of it. I’m so happy.”
Former honoree Gloria Estefan hosted the Kennedy Center Honors, and expressed, “I got invited! Who is not going to come back and do this amazing gig?”
Additionally, honoree Allen was surprised by her sister, Phylicia Rashad, at the event.
“I was in her room all the time. No wonder she was running around, she was hosting tonight,” Allen said, with Rashad adding, “Meanwhile, I’m thinking, ‘OK Debbie, you’ve gotta get out of here so I can get dressed!”
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